Painful temporomandibular disorder (TMD) is a very common orofacial pain condition that affects a large proportion of the human population with a strong bias towards females. The risk of developing TMD and the severity of the disease are associated with a generalized sensitivity to pain. In preliminary studies, we found that specific genetic variants (haplotypes) that code for catecholamine-O-methyltransferase (COMT), an enzyme regulating catecholamine levels, and Beta2-adrenergic receptor (Beta2-AR), a receptor target for epinephrine, are associated with human pain perception and the risk of developing a myogenous TMD. We propose to extend our preliminary assessments of selected SNPs by identifying and functionally characterizing the full haplotype structure of the genes that code for COMT and Beta2-AR. We will identify individual single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and haplotypes that are associated with pain perception, menstrual cycle related somatic complaints, and the risk of developing myogenous TMD. In order to accomplish this, we will conduct a case-control study on 200 female TMD patients and 200 female control patients. We will also conduct a series of biochemical and molecular biological studies that will examine the mechanisms by which polymorphisms in COMT and Beta2-AR genes affect the biological functions of the respective coded proteins. By elucidating the genetic factors that influence human pain perception, these studies will contribute to our understanding of the pathophysiology underlying myogenous TMD and may lead to new pharmacogenetic approaches to the diagnosis and treatment of TMD patients.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Dental & Craniofacial Research (NIDCR)
Research Project (R01)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZDE1-PW (04))
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Kusiak, John W
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University of North Carolina Chapel Hill
Schools of Dentistry
Chapel Hill
United States
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